Tag Archives: Police Killings

Colombia’s Riot Police Sent Back to School to Learn About Human Rights

written by Adriaan Alsema, June 16, 2017

Members of Colombia’s feared ESMAD riot unit must take compulsory courses in human rights, the country’s State Council ordered while convicting the unit for killing a student during a protest.

The ESMAD unit is one of Colombia’s most feared and loathed police units, because of recurring reports of police brutality and excessive violence in the curbing of social protest.

In the last month alone, the unit was accused of throwing teargas into people’s homes and aiming at protesters’ bodies when western Colombia rose up and protested peacefully to demand an end to chronic state neglect and violence.

In Bogota, the unit used teargas and water cannons to break up a month-long peaceful protest of teachers demanding structural investment in the country’s substandard education system.

In the ruling condemning the execution of a student protester in Cali in 2005, the National Government was ordered to submit each of the country’s riot police units to compulsory schooling on human rights, after reminding authorities that public manifestations are Colombians’ constitutional right.

The mere taking part in a civilian protest does not represent a transgression of legal order since the inhabitants [of Colombia] have the right to express their dissent to measures adopted by state authorities.

Council of State

The court also urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to re-open the homicide investigation that was closed before going to court, but is now investigated by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States.

The damage that result from this kind of reproachable behavior must be known, judged and repaired before civilian justice, before submitting the victims of the armed conflict to the wearisome burden of demanding a conviction in international courts., in addition to the fact that this circumstance leaves the Colombian justice system ill-served and is portrayed before the international community as an instance lacking efficiency, suitability and social legitimacy.

Council of State

Colombia’s Congress last year debated a proposal to disband the controversial unit, but the bill never made it to the final vote.

Colombia Reports


Police Killing Of Native American Man Exposes Hidden Epidemic Of Violence

Alcatraz Island Prison sign

Alcatraz Island Prison sign

By Akira Watts / July 28, 2015

On July 12th, Paul Castaway, a Lakota Sioux tribal citizen, was shot and killed by officers with the Denver Police Department:“

Police Chief Robert White reported at the scene Sunday that one of his officers shot and killed a man after he came ‘dangerously close’ with a long knife. However, family members said they believe the shooting was not justified after the manager at Capital City Mobile Home Park on West Kentucky Avenue showed them surveillance video of the shooting. . . . Castaway, 35, was shot four times and died Sunday evening at Denver Health. Gabriel Black Elk, Castaway’s brother, said the video shows his brother holding the knife against his own throat. He had tried to escape from police by running behind a fence, but there was no gate or opening. The video shows Castaway turning around and walking toward police, who were several feet away. The knife stays pointed toward his neck the entire time, Black Elk said. Thomas Morado, a cousin of Castaway’s, also said he had seen the video. His account matched that of Black Elk’s. ‘There was a different way to go about this,’ Morado said. ‘It didn’t have to end in his death.’”

There have been no shortage of shocking acts perpetrated against Native Americans this year. Back in February, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker smashed the dreams of the Menominee Tribe over venal considerations. Native American groups are still fighting against a deal, sponsored by Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, that gives 2400 acres of sacred Apache land to Resolution Copper, which intends to mine the living shit out of it. And in South Dakota, a group of drunken idiots who poured beer on Native American children will suffer little consequences for their actions.

This is something further though: more violent and less in the eye of the national media. And it is far worse than you might think. While African American men between the ages of 20 and 24 are the one demographic group most likely to be killed by the police, Native Americans constitute the racial group most at risk of police killing:

“The racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans, followed by African Americans, Latinos, Whites, and Asian Americans. Native Americans, 0.8 percent of the population, comprise 1.9 percent of police killings. African Americans, 13 percent of the population, are victims in 26 percent of police shootings. Law enforcement kills African Americans at 2.8 times the rate of white non-Latinos, and 4.3 times the rate of Asians.”

Though this statistic receives little recognition, it is hardly surprising. The history of state violence against Native Americans goes back hundreds of years. Organized resistance against this violence, such as the American Indian Movement, was met with escalation of state sponsored violence. The needless death of Paul Castaway is only the latest in a string of state violence targeting Native Americans. But this string of violence has been largely invisible to the public. The needless and shocking death of Sandra Bland has galvanized the nation. One day after her death, Native American activist Rexdale Henry died, in very similar circumstances.

But the death of Rexdale Henry has seen nowhere near the public outcry and national attention as the death of Sandra Bland. That needs to change.

Let me be very clear about this. The recognition of police violence perpetrated against Native Americans, as well as the #nativeamericanlivesmatter movement is not something that stands in opposition or as an alternative to the #blacklivesmatter movement. This is not a zero sum game. Bringing the epidemic of violence against Native Americans to national attention does not mean that we must turn our attention from the epidemic of violence against African Americans. #nativeamericanlivesmatter is not analogous to #alllivesmatter. #alllivesmatter distracts from the issue in a manner analogous to responding to a query about one’s feminism with the claim that one is a humanist. #nativeamericanlivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter address related, if distinct, issues. Addressing one issue will not necessarily address the other, but it can  provide valuable insights. The movements can very much compliment and act in solidarity with one another.

Ultimately, the unjustified violence against African Americans and the unjustified violence against Native Americans are symptoms of the same root cause: a systemic racism that pervades American society, and which our police act as agents of coercion and violence in service of. Fighting against that systemic racism is a task for everyone, but it will not be accomplished by the glib claim that #alllivesmatter. Because “all lives” includes those, such as myself, who directly benefit, willingly or not, from this same systemic racism. It footnotes those who are, in actuality, directly targeted by state coercion, repression, and violence. Those voices need to be directly heard, and not smothered by a broadly obvious claim about all lives mattering. And that, ultimately, is why both #blacklivesmatter and #nativeamericanlivesmatter are necessary and essential. Both must be supported and both must be publicized.

The task now, for those who are part of the #nativeamericanlivesmatter movement, is to elevate the public’s awareness of the epidemic of violence that is occurring. Paul Castaway and Rexdale Henry should be as much a part of the national discourse as Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland. Both Native Americans and African Americans are being targeted by the police. And both of those shameful facts must be addressed.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Reverb Press

Native Lives Matter: Police Killing Native Americans At Astounding Rate


Image Credit: Student Put in Paddy Wagon, Light Brigading

By Ruth McCambridge

A recent report by the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice reports that Native Americans are killed by police at a higher rate than any other ethnic group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Native Americans make up almost two percent of those killed by police though they are only 0.8 percent of the population. While police kill young black men more than any other group, they kill Native Americans at a higher rate.

As with African Americans, these killings are not isolated from the larger problem of police and societal violence, as this devastating article in Counterpunch discusses in the particular context of New Mexico, which in 2014 had the highest rate of police killing in the country. That article reports that “according to a 2003 study by the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Native people experience ‘acts of ethnic intimidation; threats of physical violence, assaults, and other potential hate crimes’ as part of everyday life in border towns like Gallup, Farmington and Albuquerque.”


Chase Iron Eyes is an attorney with the Lakota People’s Law Project in South Dakota, which published a report called “Native Lives Matter” early this year. He says that the DOJ needs to address police violence against Native Americans.

“You can tell they’re shooting out of fear,” he said. “If it’s not out of hate, for some reason they’re pulling the trigger before determining what the situation actually is. Something does need to happen. Somebody does need to take a look and we need help.”

By Ruth McCambridge in Nonprofit Quarterly, July 16, 2015


Cops Kill Man In Guy Fawkes Mask, Anonymous Vows To “Avenge” The Police Killing


By Jay Syrmopoulos / TheFreeThoughtProject.com

A man wearing an Anonymous mask was killed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outside of a Dawson Creek restaurant last night. Since then, the hacking collective took to Twitter vowing to avenge their fallen Anon with the launch of #OpAnonDown.

In a tweet later deleted, the hacktivist group made it be known that they would respond to the killing of their comrade.

Like we will not fight back, like we will not avenge our fallen. #AnonLivesMatter Fucking Expect Us. — Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) July 18, 2015

The man killed by police was initially misidentified by police investigators as being related to a disturbance call inside of a public hearing, but police later admitted that these incidents were in no way related to one another.

This initial misinformation has led to accusations from Anonymous that police are in the initial phases of a cover up.

In a video appearing on Facebook, two officers are seen standing over a man with their guns drawn as the man lay on the ground, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and a grey hoodie.

The mask is a symbol often synonymous with an affiliation with the global hacktivist group know as Anonymous. The hacker collective quickly let it be known that they would not take the killing of one of their lightly.

Police claim the man refused to drop a pocket knife. In the video, the officer appears to kick something away from the man’s body, although no object can be readily seen. In typical police fashion, officers can be seen handcuffing the victims body as he lay in a pool of blood.

According to a report by The Province:

Kellie Kilpatrick, spokeswoman for the police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, issued a clarification Friday night, saying that two men, not one as was initially reported, were involved in the incident that happened as a public hearing for the contentious Site C dam was taking place.

“Police arrive at the location and they come into contact with a second individual who is unrelated to the original complaint,” she said. “He is aggressive. He does not follow police commands and he is shot. He is transported to hospital but he does not survive.”

When asked by a reporter from The Province how this misidentification happened, Kilpatrick stated, “At this point I don’t have that information.”

She refused to name the victim or the name of the officers involved in the killing.

The largest Anonymous account on Twitter responded to news of the shooting with a series of ominous messages and the announcement of a #OpAnonDown.


Here is a press release from Anonymous regarding #OpAnonDown.

Anonymous Press Release: Operation Anon Down

Saturday – July 18, 2015 4:00 PM ET

At approximately 6:30 PM PT on July 17, 2015 at an Anonymous protest in Dawson Creek, British Columbia which the RCMP was informed about in advance, an RCMP officer mercilessly shot and killed a masked Anon without provocation or cause. This is the fourth Anon to be slain by security forces around the world in as many years. Turkey, Egypt, Palestine and now British Columbia in Canada. As in the past, Anonymous will not stand idly by while our own are cut down in mask. Anonymous has fought for the lives of protesters all over the globe, from Tahir Square in Egypt to Ferguson, Missouri. We will most certainly avenge one of our own when they are cut down in the streets while protesting the earth wrecking environmental policies of the Canadian government.

To this end Anonymous announces the launch of Operation Anon Down. The focus of this Op going forward will be gaining justice (and vengeance if necessary) for our fallen comrade in Dawson Creek. But we will also memorialize our previously slain brethren, and prepare to take action for future Anons killed by police – as we have no doubt they will cut down more of us.

To begin we will identify the RCMP officer involved, thoroughly dox him – and release that dox on the Internet. Because the world has a right to know every detail about killer cops. We will offer support and raise funds if necessary to cover the burial expenses of our fallen comrade. He will be buried with the honor and dignity that his courage has earned him. We will ensure that he is never forgotten, and takes his place in the growing ledger of brave Anonymous martyrs around the world. Then we will press the RCMP and Canadian government for justice. This RCMP officer must be named, fired, and charged – for the murder of our brother Anon. And if we do not receive justice, rest assured there will be revenge.

We call upon our fellow Anons in Canada to take to the streets and protest at the RCMP headquarters in every Province, every day – until our demands for justice are met. We call upon the Global Collective of Anonymous and allied crews to remove the RCMP cyber infrastructure from the Internet. March, create and sign petitions, hack, dox. We may not be able to bring back our fallen comrade, we may not even be able to prevent other Anons from being slain by murderous police – but we can sure as hell show them that there will be a steep price to pay when they kill us.

“Behind this mask there is more than flesh and blood
Behind this mask is an idea
And ideas are bullet proof

We Are Anonymous

We Are Legion

We Are Everywhere

We Do Not Forgive

We Do Not Forget

To the murderous officers of the RCMP…it is to late to Expect Us

h/t Revolution News

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on BenSwann’s Truth in Media, Chris Hedges’ truth-out, AlterNet and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.